tv Book Discussion on The Last Empire CSPAN June 29, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
2000 a financial crash, nobody has been held accountable in the criminal justice system yet. average citizens who, i don't know, whether if they're illegal immigrants or people who are on the welfare system or if you just hang out on the corner, if they are poor people, they encounter the criminal justice system regularly, but people who are committing crimes off the streets just about to do with it. i'm also reading capital in the 21st century about income inequality. fascinating book. ..
she's just great. it is about how luskin create hope and change in the community. i was taught by nuns when i went to school as a kid and this is the kind of woman who taught and i have very fond memories of none that taught me in that same tradition. service, giving, no non-send. and then i actually just picked this book. i have a target reading it, but this is by ralph nader. it is called unstoppable: the emerging left right to disband the day. i'm about to start this book to good it's a fascinating look because i am very concerned about corporate good, citizens united. we need united citizens, not his united.
and then of course a good friend of time, awesome guy, jim clyburn. this is his way of graffiti. june is a wonderful man and his book is called bless these experience is. generally southern probably black and he sees a lot of things in his time. he's the third most powerful democrat in the house and his mentor ran to meet and i want to learn more about his life. i think this will probably take me at least until july. >> what are you reading this summer? tell us what is on your reading list. sweet as that booktv. posted to her face but page or send us an e-mail. booktv at time span.org. >> serhii plokhy reports that disillusionment was based on ukraine and russia not coming to agreement on a continued unified state that on the influence of american foreign policy initiatives.
this hour-long program is next on booktv. >> good morning. good morning. i am joann myers, director of public affairs programs on behalf of the carnegie council, i would like to welcome our members, gas and c-span booktv to this public affairs program. our guest today is serhii plokhy, progressive u.k. in history and director of the ukrainian research institute at harvard university. his book, "the last empire: the final days of the soviet union" will not only lift the curtain of time on the dramatic events leading up to the lowering of the soviet flag and the collapse of the soviet union, but it will also provide a much-needed context for what is happening in the ukraine today. the long-standing narrative at the end of the cold war is one that has entwined the
disintegration of the soviet union and the triumph of democratic values under communism. it is a narrative that has persisted for decades of adverse consequences for americans chanting in the world and the perception of what we could accomplish. before pretend, the collapse of the soviet union was, as he is often the outcome of the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. this in turn has led many western analysts to use the current crisis to rewrite the history of the soviet collapse and resurrect the soviet and higher. the story at the uncoupling of the soviet union as told in the last 10 higher presents a bold new interpretation of the soviet union final months. while the soviet union disintegrated for a variety of reasons, not least the bankruptcy of a moral and actual soviet system in place events in the ukraine and republics at the center of the drama, professor plokhy provides what is happening now. as unrest continues in the eastern part of the ukraine with
progression separatists in the region and complicating efforts to implicate what the u.s. come you might wonder why naomi putin, the russian nationalist ukraine is a natural part of their national story and find it difficult to adjust to the reality of the independent ukraine. "the last empire" will provide answers for understanding the historical roots of the crisis and why we struggle with independence among constituent republics. these join me in welcoming our guest today, serhii plokhy. register menu to please turn off your cell phone and any other electronic devices. thank you. [applause] thank you for coming. >> thank you. joann, thank you so much for the wonderful introduction. i want to thank everyone for coming on this early in the
morning. finally the rains are over, whether it's wonderful that he still decided to use than this morning talking about books and talking about ideas so thank you very much. i am really very pleased to be here and i will try to do my best in terms of today's presentation. i am not sure how it will go because one thing they forbid me to move anywhere around. normally i like to walk. second thing is for the last five years, all of my lectures will come around the pictures i have shown so they call it a power point. again, they forbid me to use powerpoint. so we will see how it will go. the only thing i can promise you is that i will try my best. last week brought some very interesting views in the region. that news hide a word that was
not there in report and maybe for the last 20 or 24 years and that word was union. so in kazakhstan, leaders of three soviet republics, russia, really resent kazakhstan signed agreements on the creation of economic union. so as far as i know, this is the first time since 1991 that the word union and not, more than something that is quite comprehensive is used in media and is reentered in the political vocabulary. in 1991, in december of 1991, it was false from posix done at almaty that the word came that another entity from the beginning of the soviet socialist republic ceased to exist. at that time, leaders of 11
post-soviet republics gather together in kazakhstan. again, the same person in the time they decided that the union, any kind of the union is gone. it's not just the salt republics i'm also central asia republics, representatives of other countries as well. so that turned out to be in terms of the launch of my book really on one level. it is a welcoming usefulness of the author. that reminded me of the situation two years ago when the manuscript was more or less ready and i was looking for a publisher and quite a few publishers were not interested at all. i'm really very fortunate with these basic books and the
publisher who from the very beginning was interested in that and yesterday saw her one of the events in said no one could predict what would happen in the post-soviet space except for laura goodner.and was interested in publishing, was interested in publishing this book. why i wrote this book, there is a number. one of them is quite personal. that is i wasn't at that time in the country. i was in the soviet union. i was in a ukraine. at the time when most of the events in my book take place in the chronological book is from july 1991 it starts with president george h.w. bush and mikhail gorbachev and then goes all the way to the end of december.
the 21st of december for teaching. on the 21st of december, a timeline they decided there is no soviet union anymore. and when i came to the university of alberta if they asked me to teach this summer crisis. at that time i was working on the 17th century history. i said i can't do that. the answer was the students want that. coming from the soviet union i thought the professor would be what they want, not with studio wants it. i certainly changed my view on that. so i decided okay, i will teach under the crisis, but i knew nothing about economics. let's teach about democracy in moscow. so i'm coming from ukraine.
but i know my perspective is very different. this is about national identity. now who is interested in nations? this is not important. i said well that's the only course i can teach. so i prevailed by the time the soviet union disintegrated. not exactly because of democracy. mostly because of national mobilization in the republics, including russia. so when i revisited literature on the fall of the soviet union, it was three years ago. i found out that actually what i saw and what i read i still wasn't that aside. there is little in terms of the perspective and the experience that i had that was reflected in the soviet republics are not
very. the history was focused on moscow and partly on washington as well. very important parts of this story. the republics were not there. that's the only way and it would be to write a book. i had to act to formulate my argument against a number of existing narratives of the fall of the soviet union. so the first of them i will start with russia. what is quite popular today in russia in terms of interpretation in the fall of the soviet union was this kind of a conspiracy theory that it was the cia, some kind of a mysterious project that people ahead of time are planning the destruction of the soviet union and actually that is what
happened. i couldn't find much evidence to that. the evidence i was fine name was the administration, george h.w. bush was trying it best to keep gorbachev in place and all the way into late november of 1991 though it's not exactly a conspiracy theory that is popular in russia. on the american side, there is of course the very strong narrative that links together the end of the cold war. the american music theory and the cold war and the disintegration of destruction of the soviet union. and again, what i am trying to show the destruction are disintegration and dismemberment of the soviet era with never the goal in the cold war. and by the way, sue the union fell apart a year and a half
after two leaders declared that the cold war was over. the bush gorbachev summit was which i start nice worry was presented to the public as the first post-cold war summit. so things didn't really work nicely in that narrative as well. and then there is another one i liked the most and export it to the best of my ability in my book, but i don't think it explains everything. this is the narrative between gorbachev and the others. one politician by another and he put a lot of information and personal relations through my book. no matter how important gorbachev and yeltsin's relations were at a time the soviet union fell apart in december of 1991, the battle of
russia against the center was 31 by russia. by the time of the ukrainian referendum of december 1, 1991 that sealed the fate of the soviet union, by that time gorbachev didn't have money to pay his secretaries and his assistants. all the money, all the resources were taken by russia. the process started in the summer. the process started immediately after. oil, gas revenues, they became property of the republics and in case of oil and gas in russia they became property of russian federation and russian republic. so i am kind of done with my favorite part of research, showing how everyone else is wrong. [laughter] now you can't really write a book and then sell it to the publisher was suggesting some kind of alternative vision.
and what was my alternative vision? well, i certainly put the end of the soviet union into the context of the cold war. it is very. i certainly put the fall of the soviet union into the context of the economic decline and its oil prices and attempts at reforms. very difficult. the most important process of the 20th century and this is the process of the disintegration of empires. a national stage i put the hester into the context of the fall of the ottoman empire they
more or less especially of the 20th century the citizenship in the column names in the provinces. once the empire decides people at the top that they have to actually bear cost and have to pay benefits and put those people have to defend and extend to them what sometimes is called the welfare state. and once the math is done, the conclusion to reach all in every metropolitan power is that it is too expensive. it is too expensive in the 20th century. empire doesn't bring benefits. economic and otherwise brands in the resources. and russia is not different. they did the same mass.
they have to do it faster. in britain they had debate about that that was going for decades. in russia it was all actually done in a very short period of time of 1990 and 1991. they had this very interesting scene in my book when president yeltsin of russia is sitting on the bench on the sochi beach, and boris explains to him and says you don't have resources to keep republics is this. if we don't do something drastic in terms of economic reform, your rank and popularity will be the one for gorbachev. so something has to be done really fast and we don't have resources to do it. they tried also to sell this
idea to gorbachev and the explanation was we let the republics go for now. we don't have resources to keep them. but once russia is strong 20 years from now, almost 20 years from now, the republics will come back. so the vision of russia is special russian role in the region and the future of republics coming back in one was arranged during the soviet times was there and it was already quite prominent in the fall of 1991. russia left the soviet union and russia sent a curt or leaving the soviet union was much more sick sick and that the benefit of any other metropolitan power before that. look at it. colonies are gone. that means that the access to resources is now much, much more difficult. look at russia.
russia leaves the soviet union was oil and gas. so it takes the resources a part of the russian federation and this leaving other republics behind immediately makes whatever reforms yeltsin was considering not that time, and makes them much easier. now yeltsin is not the only kind of major figure in my book. i am trying to tell my story through the actions and experiences of four major figures of the time whom i blamed for everything positive in everything negative of what happened at that time. and those people are president of the united states, george h.w. bush, mikhail gorbachev, boris yeltsin and they need koosh, speaker of the parliament and then president of ukraine. the return of the baltic states
i am trying to also tell the story, looking for the republics and just what is going on there. so what is my take on the american policy in what was that may not that time? i mentioned that in the united states the policy was to keep gorbachev going as long as possible. one would say why the policy of that kind? y if the end of the cold war is also beyond of the soviet union. well, the reason is quite sent. since the first gulf war, the soviet union emerges as a junior partner. it would mean really face an unknown and new realignment of forces.
the soviet union under gorbachev is prepared. they are prepared to cut down their support by fidel castro and eventually was drawing support and afghanistan. that is one reason. another reason is a nuclear change the way how the war is god. that is why we have cold war and not hot water, because of nuclear arms. the main concern of bush and his administration at that time is turning into what they call yugoslavia results. they were the two republics and
kazakhstan and aubuchon and belarus as well in the nuclear missiles. so thinking about the war didn't change. you still need the big three, the parade, the nuclear arms change the way how businesses conduct it. robert gates at that time, director of cia wrote in his memoirs we had a victory, but we don't have a parade. so exactly the point in that direction. so what you see is actually the united states of america is trying to keep the evil empire for some game that was called if allah empire alive as long as possible. the united states of america is not happy with yeltsin dissolved in the communist party because
it undermines gorbachev's position and gorbachev stand within the union and of the international area. so the story i present is much more, is much more complex than the narrative we have today. now, what about -- what about other players? i talked a little bit about yeltsin and he has risen in the views of his advisors of why russia should go on its own first of all when it comes to economic reform and what would be happening. what about gorbachev? gorbachev was of course they're trying to save. gorbachev was trying to save his position at the top of the soviet union. but he was not only person who was trying to do that and in his memoirs now he takes 100% of the credit. some of the people around him are saying that if you would make a deal with yeltsin immediately at that time, yeltsin wanted the consideration
or the soviet union may be under a different name, but more or less was the same number of participants would continue in taiwan. that is for the personal relations between gorbachev and yeltsin come. gorbachev could not imagine any kind of arrangement under gelt and would have to orders from yelp and. last but not least, the republics. one of the second largest republics after russia, ukraine. ukrainians voted on december 1st, 1991 overwhelmingly, over 90% of those who voted supported ukrainian independence. the results came as a surprise to many people, especially to gorbachev. the resemblance in march of this same year, in march of 1991, where 70% of ukrainians voted
for continuing existence in the union, but a renewed union. what happened there? first of all, there is economic, military and political collapse of the soviet union between march and december of 1991. but the second main reason was that the elites, the ukrainian political elites but by the president at that time were not interested anymore and continuation fna kind of unix. that. until gorbachev came to power, the ukrainian elite with a junior partner in running the soviet union. they were brought to moscow first by khrushchev who they supported and riot to work for more than 10 years as the leader in ukraine and then khrushchev was replaced by another product
and was britishness died, the leader of the ukrainian communists would be something that didn't happen. that is where the alliance between the two largest groups in the communist party and the management between russians and ukrainians actually came to really the conflict became an irreconcilable. okay, good. ukraine voted for independence. why the soviet union falls apart almost immediately after that. well, yeltsin gave explanation to that more than one in his telephone conversations personal meetings with resident bush. we have these telephone conversations now on the website. the bush libraries are fantastic resource in general where i
worked. so yeltsin explains to bush that if ukraine is not silent, russia is not signing either. the question is why. otherwise we will be outvoted and outnumbered by the republics. during the two slavic republics against the rear for. that was the position that yeltsin took. it was before the position that the burden of the empire has to be shared. brescia on the size not prepared to do that. that is exactly what happens at the historical hunting lodge and belarus in december of 1991. the negotiations start between gorbachev and between yeltsin of ukraine and they start from gorbachev's new union.
he refuses to sign and then you and says we are not tiny either. now look look for a different way to arrange a relationship and that's where the commonwealth is coming from. the union without russia -- union without ukraine was of no interest to russia. the interest of russia was at no interest to any other republic. belarusians are unprepared for what would happen. as for the resources are. so this is true for kazakhstan. so once brescia is not fair, it is just an empty shell. it is just gorbachev, then the baltics left a long time ago and are not interested in that. they are almost pushed out of the crumbling empire. the ukrainian scott and at some point. brescia decided it's not interested in the m. tire.
but the central asian republics are still there and it was only on the 21st of december of 1991 that they also joined the commonwealth. in the remaining few minutes, what i want to say this about the possible insights that this story and the way i tell it might have for events today and in the region and the russian ukrainian conflict. well, one of the main arguments of the book is the soviet union files not because of the relations between russia and the center, not because of the policies of the united states, but because the two largest constituent parts of the union, russia and ukraine couldn't agree. and what we see now is actually a replaying of the same thing
now 23, 24 years later. brescia signed the economic agreement with balers and kazakhstan. the leader was also indicted, but for a number of reasons didn't come. so there is a gap there in that gap is ukraine. ukraine didn't sign. what you saw over the period of the last year in terms of the russian ukrainian relations, that was in many ways an attempt to actually get ukraine on board. certainly ukraine after the february revolution in medan events in january and february of this year. and now a player the two regions that were very much also in the headlines in the summer and fall
of 1991 and they are, the only region in ukraine where the ethnic ukrainians constitute the majority of them were the russian minority on books is a minority, but a cultural every other chairman is the majority. for the first time, the two regions were called by name in a statement that was made in august of 1991, yeltsin spokesman. and at that time, what was happening immediately after its yeltsin took away all most all of gorbachev's powers, forcing him to cancel his own decrees appointing minister of defense, head of the kgb. brescia was taken over effect
really and it was at that time that from a yeltsin's office there where more of an event to republics ukraine, conflicts and another thing crania mentioned that if this country leads the soviet union, what that would mean it's the end of -- that would mean the end of the agreements that russia had with those republics in the borders. the borders would not be recognized anymore. and there is a crimea would be claimed by russia. it didn't work the way envisioned in august of 1991. the reason for that was the rebellion of the republics. not only ukraine, but every other republic at that time in the united states want that to happen. so the position of the white house was very, very important and after that yeltsin changes the course.
this particular region were already there from the very beginning. another point linking events of 1991 and today that i want to make was about the question of what drives vladimir putin today. whether this is really unhappiness with the way how the united states in the nato countries are moving into the neighborhood or there is something else. my take on my insider should be something else. often what is mentioned as the reason for not inés is it is good to gorbachev by western powers after the reunification of germany.
well, history is a funny thing. you can go into history and find almost every day of what you want to find there. except of the document that was actually said or written. you go to september 1991 and you can see yeltsin and the secretary of state, james baker, discussing the issue of possible russian or should in nato. so you can manipulate history and go to the point of this episode are that episode. so what drives putin's policy is the idea of recreation. not the soviet union. not in the foreign power that it existed. but the creation if not commonwealth, then certainly a space that would be dominated by russia. the vision that is started there in september and not sober of 1991 and two have been for a longer period of time. last but not least, i am ready
to minutes over my time, but i know that this question will be asked anyways, so i will answer it whether it is faster nonanonymous the question of what we can learn from the crisis of 1991 and what the united states can borrow from their anointed a feminist duration can borrow from the arsenal of george h.w. bush. one thing that worked really very well back in 1991 was the u.s. policy should take on board western europe and on major western european players that have time. germany, france to get on board canada. bush was on the telephone all the time and then into the
ukrainian referendum and immediately after that. building this alliance. so when bush spoke at that time, that meant for all major players in the region that that was a unified position. so that is why in belarus and they agreed to dissolve the soviet union, yeltsin and the leaders of belarus and ukraine, the first is to gorbachev. the first call goes to the united states and it was very clear that osha speaking on behalf. it was very different from the way how the disintegration of yugoslavia was handled. when germany was playing its own policy and the united states is playing its own policy. so the unity of western countries of course is much easier to say than to achieve it. but that turned out to be something really back in 1991, ensuring the peace so a relatively peaceful demise of the empire.
one can look at the event and say that with the demise of the empire and what we see is maybe the last shot or set the same story and i want to end on that. so if you want to know the beginning of the story, by the book. sometimes i heard that buying is the moral equivalent of reading. [applause] >> thank you very much. that was a fascinating description of what happened in the present. so when i call on you, just like to remind you to stand up and come to the microphone and introduced yourself. >> thank you for your intriguing tales. follow a period first of all -- >> susan biddle sin. i'm so caught caught up with your tail.
in putin's new union, he apparently wants to have political ties, but the reports are that the other two members want to restrict this to an economic union. second night, since you are from the ukraine, what are the prospects of ukraine ever coming back together with crimea in the east and the future? >> well, thanks for these questions. i will start with the second question with ukraine. we are not sure we know what will happen. what we know of the ways things turn out his vladimir putin with so-called talking about the seven or eight regions of
ukraine that would include southern areas, northern shore of the black sea. there were provocations and all of those regions. what we see today is the conflict zone is localized, and it is too early to say what will happen there. my hope is on the seven achieving ukraine gets its legitimate president. now we have interim president that on the ground situation changes internationally we'll see whether whether it will happen or not, but that is my hope. in terms of the crania, crania for the first time that happened the beginning of world war ii, the region was not just invaded.
the region was annexed. it was attached to another country. so again for the first time mrs. happy and 60 or 70 years of european history. so it is different. my take on not as if ukraine succeed in its attempts to join europe, not necessarily join the european union, that bring in the business practices. when joining europe in now way, crania would follow sooner or later. the reason for that is not composition. the reason for that is geography. so most of the most of the supplies to said three happens to come from the mainland but it's ukraine. there is talk now that russia tries to change hsia graffiti by building a bridge between the russian federation and the crimea. as long as we have the geography as it is now, it would be really difficult to access and
effectively function without close cooperation with ukraine. if we see ukraine succeeded in terms of its reforms, not thinking of the corruption and not going the way of authoritarian regimes with russia, belarus and kazakhstan, i think that the chances of a longer to burkett for crania coming back. so there is one that is on not road. in terms of the economic union, what we see now is sent and that is dealt on the foundations of another union, which was a customs union. so now it is a new level is built and we also have military union that is there. all that is common about the unionist they are not just russia trade and, that they are russia controlled.
and it is russia who is part of the union that is mostly interested in adding numbers. it's a very different story from the european union. it's the members who are knocking on the doors of the european union. here it is russia knocking on the doors of the potential number. again, the idea is an observation of the soviet union. again, this is not the agenda, the creation of a very integrated economically and political space controlled by russia. >> richard bellecourt from international intelligence. in your book on yelp didn't come you don't do that without roosevelt and churchill had to play into someone's desires. did you really understand what he was after.
i thought the book and i am enjoying it. you dealt with george bush and scowcroft and how they dealt with gorbachev. now, how do you deal with this administration and its attempt to understand with what putin is trying to do their? do we really understand what he is up to? >> well, thanks. and thanks for this idea. i never thought about comparing fdr and bush senior in the way they handled the soviet union. they handled this very differently. what can i say about the current administration? in my other book, i am telling the story of fdr sending one after another ambassadors to moscow. they all come with this idea that they can work with moscow. so harman is one of them. after two or three years, all of
them are coming back absolutely dissolution and as anti-russian or anti-soviet as one can imagine. it seems to me that the story of him then ambassadors before him and afternoon is that the kurnit frustration. they never were sent to moscow, but they were sent to russia with this idea that there is a bit of goodwill, we can do that. we can work with russia. and what we see now is the ambassador that can return relatively recently from moscow when you look out the language that is used by the administration. the stage after stalin's refusal to support the polish uprising of 1944 went in was very anti-stalin. that is where current administration is at this point.
things are your question. >> voluptuous soul. i have two questions. number one, i want to know why anyone would want to go into an alliance with belarus, which i understand is still a stalinist state dictatorship. the other question is what is khrushchev -- gorbachev thought of in russia? >> well, for gorbachev, that was maybe a moment of triumph with the crania. and he would publicly and said i told you so. i told you you didn't listen to me 23 years ago. if it happened. maybe it didn't happen in 1991 and the reason this happened because of the disillusionment of the soviet union have been in such an awful way and the people
were put in the situation where they had to face facts because gorbachev was advocating and so that was his last kind of position. so that is on gorbachev. in terms of belarus and belarus being possibly the last european dictatorship, if you are in a position of hooton who runs quite authoritarian machines themselves, i don't think that the way that vocation is the dictator really registers much and influences your decision did not matter. in terms of other reasons, it is first about geopolitical reason. certainly been on the border with the e.u., which nato, certainly been one of the
corridors for a supply of russian gas to europe with ukraine of course now it is difficult to predict what would happen there. so the more difficult things for russia are in ukraine. the higher is the state of belarus and its geopolitical gain. >> over here. >> hi, ron were my. i am reminded in this talk is sent and i read one that history, rather that geography is about not in histories about chaps. so let talk about chaps for a second. i remember at least that in
1991, most of the energy i was aware of in terms of dealing with the post-soviet world was to focus on direct relationships with russia in encouraging reform in the one. and now if i had been asleep for 23 years since some people might say that i have, i would wake up seedbed estonia was in nato, i think i got it wrong on a jeopardy question recently because appear to albania is in nato, too. so we had diacritical choice to make between dealing directly with russia or prying loose these neighboring states. so how much of what is going on is attributable to that fateful choice that the authoritarian leaders of russia and kazakhstan
and belarus are just terrified that this is going to infect their world and feel circled and this is their way of dealing with this. one of the manifestations is a tremendous revitalization of stalin in all parts of that world. >> certainly the russian leadership i am not sure about carsick leadership to please a different game, but the russian leadership decided at some point i think it happened at the time of the wars in yugoslavia, that the relationship with the west will not be a relationship of allies, that those would be potentially confrontational
relationships. and that, that take on where russia goes and where the rest goes no influences the position of russia. so what they are trying to create, they try to create economic, political union that would compete with european union and nato on the one hand and china on the other hand. that is the way how i see it, that i am lucky not that. in terms of the authoritarian regimes, ukraine, not estonia, not black via, but ukraine presents a major challenge to the arrangement that exists in russia today. because a good half of ukraine speaks russian in terms of many elements, not all, but many elements in many democratic u.s.
and russia look at ukraine and hope that the middle class that has the ability to mobilize itself without support from the e.u. or u.s. moral support that that could be a real threat, domestic threat to the regime. to regime in moscow, belarus and again cossacks are in a different group. so looking at the west as possible potential adversary, one reason for politics and another one is to preclude successful slavic country to become democratic. so democracy in ukraine, sometimes for good reasons, but sometimes not for good reasons at all and that is the message
that is sent to the domestic audience. >> thank you. i was going to ask a question about gorbachev's legacy, but the gentlemen here already did. now i want to talk about putin's legacy. beginning in the next decade, where d.c. his policies his policies? where d.c. had an especially recently and economic crew with china in terms of gas and oil and i guess commodities going both ways. thank you. >> well, you asked me to predict the future. i was so many times wrong or did in the future that i decided it is a blessing that i have been paid us and historian and not as a fortune teller because i would
be broke. but what i can say is the way how i understand putin looks at himself and how he sees his legacy. and this is as far as i understand, the first time in the russian and soviet history at the leader is interested in history under its books, the first time since josef stalin. khrushchev was not an avid reader repression of for that under the gorbachev read different kind of books in different leadership. so this is a person who now uses the term, who is as far as he knows assured of another 10 years. one of the legacies that he wants to leave in russia and in the world is not only stabilizing russia and precluding from the complete
collapse, sent him that he is credited do it in the first years -- during the first term as the president, but most though he looks at himself as basically someone who will bring russia back more or less to the level of the soviet power in the world, creation of the russian power in the post-soviet space and enough wavering back russia as a major, maybe not second superpower, but major player in europe, united states and china. so that is the way i see it and read his school and he reads books on russian emperors and he reads books on international history. so he looks at his legacy, savior of russia and bringing russia back to the summit and the world powers.
thank you. >> john richardson. we have taught a lot about moscow and kiev and ms. and the old alpine. could you just address a little bit, do they have any plan or concept of what to do with the vast territory out to the pacific other than supplying gas to china? >> well, i will go back to my lack of ability to protect things. i started this presentation by talking about teaching course on the uss arian crisis in canada and when the chorus came to an
end of the soviet union was falling apart, i played a game student that i said okay, now you're soviet citizen and you could move to any part of the union you want, but soon there will be 15 different countries. where do you think you'd want to live where the chances for economic prosperity would be the best. at that time there talking about specific route. it was a big thing in quite a few students decided you must talk would be the best place to go to move to have business in sight. so that was not a prediction. that was the prediction of one of my students, so it didn't work out that way for a number of reasons. certainly moscow's control over the area is another one of them. so it is a big issue. what we see now, there's others going up and down, trying to resettle all to the far east.
so russia immigrates from the sale or there was again i don't know how corrupt they are or are not, but there was some attempts now after crania is taken over also to talk about that. i don't think there is a two move to the far east, but certainly there is an understanding in my code that potentially there is a problem and potentially because just the sheer numbers of the chinese population and russian population on the border there and again, economic challenges are enormous. but that the only thing i can say about safari's. >> don simmons. dates to its government, ukraine has a very large hard currency
debt and it's also in a position where it can be strangled by russia either through the price of gas or through declining to allow ukrainian experts into the country. my question is what do you think are the prospects of ukraine developing a successful self-sustaining national economy? >> well, ukraine was a grep date by the previous government as a presidential college grays of the estimates are different, but apparently between $5,010,000,000 are taken out of the ukrainian government alone. so it is today in deep crisis. so one thing that is clear that ukraine on it will not able to overcome the crisis. mr. elma choice was to take
$18 billion for her russia and the current government certainly relied on support and financial support both from the european union and the united states. that is where the hope lies that they appeal to turn around the economy. i like western money much more than money because western money comes with strings attached and with control. after dealing in post-soviet base for 20 years, the lending institutions now have much more acts or tease and know how to handle this money and how to control it and how to see what the result are. but that is basically the ukrainian society as a result of lost territories in this war,